With the holiday season upon us, we are all ready to embrace the joy and warmth of Christmas. But how much do we really know about this beloved holiday? Here are ten shocking facts that could change the way you celebrate Christmas.
1. The Origin of Christmas
Guess what? Christmas wasn’t always celebrated on December 25. In fact, no one is certain about Jesus’s exact birth date. The choice of December 25 was influenced by pagan festivals like Saturnalia and the winter solstice, which were already celebrated during this period.
2. Santa’s Reindeer Weren’t Always Flying
Reindeer don’t fly, right? Well, in the original tale of Santa Claus, his reindeer didn’t either. The concept of flying reindeer was introduced by Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” commonly known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
3. The First Decorated Christmas Tree
Did you know that the first decorated Christmas tree wasn’t adorned with the glittering ornaments and lights we use today? In the 16th century, Martin Luther reportedly decorated a small Christmas tree with candles to show his children how the stars twinkled through the dark night.
4. The Evolution of Santa Claus
Santa Claus didn’t always look like the jolly, plump man we picture today. His image evolved over time, with influences from St. Nicholas, British folklore character Father Christmas, and Dutch figure Sinterklaas. The red suit came into play thanks to Coca-Cola’s advertisements in the 1930s!
5. The Largest Ever Christmas Gift
The largest Christmas gift ever given? The Statue of Liberty! France gifted it to the United States in 1886. It arrived in New York on Christmas Eve and was a symbol of friendship between the two nations.
6. Christmas Was Once Illegal
Yes, you read that right! From 1659 to 1681, Christmas was banned in Boston. The Puritans believed it was an excessively decadent celebration and anyone caught celebrating was fined.
7. Jingle Bells Wasn’t a Christmas Song
“Jingle Bells” wasn’t originally written for Christmas. James Lord Pierpont wrote the song for Thanksgiving in 1857. It eventually became associated with Christmas and is now one of the most popular holiday tunes.
8. Candy Canes and Their Hidden Meaning
Candy canes weren’t just designed for their sweet peppermint flavor. The ‘J’ shape stands for Jesus, and the red stripes symbolize Christ’s sacrifice. The white represents purity and sinlessness.
9. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Was a Marketing Ploy
Rudolph came into existence thanks to a department store. Robert L. May created the story of Rudolph in 1939 for Montgomery Ward department stores as a marketing gimmick to encourage more holiday shopping.
10. Christmas Trees Were Once Considered Pagan
Initially, Christmas trees were viewed with suspicion and considered a pagan tradition. It wasn’t until Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, set up a Christmas tree in Windsor Castle in 1841 that the tradition gained popularity.
Knowing these facts, you might look at your Christmas celebrations a little differently this year. But no matter how you choose to celebrate, remember the true spirit of Christmas lies in spreading love, joy, and kindness.
This article is intended for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only and should not be construed as advice, guidance or counsel. It is provided without warranty of any kind.